FAQs on Japanese Literature

  • What is Japanese literature?

Japanese literature refers to the body of work produced or written by Japanese authors in Japanese, or in the case of the earlier phase of Japanese culture, in Chinese.

  • Is it easy to read and analyze texts of Japanese literature?

Sadly, the answer is no. Even those who call themselves specialists and experts do not really pride themselves on having mastered Japanese literature.

  • Where does the difficulty lie in Japanese literature?

The difficulty lies in the way Japanese authors enjoy employing ambiguity in their texts, making these texts harder to decipher and analyze.

  • What are some forms of Japanese poetry?

Some forms of Japanse poetry are the following: the tanka, the haiku, the collaborative verse, the kanshi, and others. These forms are usually differentiated through their historical roots, their syllable and line count, and many other differences.

  • How is a haiku written?

The haiku follows a line count of three lines, and a syllable count of seventeen syllables in all. Moreover, these syllables are divided accordingly with the three lines, with the first and third lines having five lines each, and the second line having seven syllables.

  • Does Japanese literature also have folktales?

Yes, Japanese literature does have its own share of folktales. These folktales almost always hold a valuable lesson in them, and this lesson is also usually learned the hard and painful way, sometimes causing a lot of suffering even in the main character.

  • What is a popular figure in Japanese folktales?

Japanese folktales like employing the imagery of animals in the story, with the animals used to deliver a powerful and thought-provoking lesson in the story.

  • Can I write my own Japanese poem?

Yes, you definitely can. All you have to do is to simply follow the instructions, as in the line count, and the syllable count, which is most applicable to the haiku.